Curve 13

Well the low leg of Curve 13 is now all heavy rail, in long lengths and all fastened down. Sorry about the photos, for some reason the software has changed again and decided to make them small for some reason!

In almost record time, by morning tea we had everything unfastened and most of the new rail more or less in place.

As this section was all timber, we made good use of our new tools, custom made by Ian. Sleeper plate shover under-ers. The certainly save hours of backbreaking bending over.

For the first time in years we even dragged out the hydraulic gauger, not often we need this these days as the gauge is generally very uniform across the Railway, but it is very handy doing this sort of work holding the gauge while drilling timber.

At the UP end, we’re into the straight and we’ve found a short welded Junction rail, to drop the rail size from 94lb to 80lb so we can use standard 80lb/60lb junction plates. As we progress the re-railing this length will get cascaded along. We’ve got a similar piece ready for the other leg.

After running through with the gauging run of 1 in 3, a quick tamping pass to make sure everything was hard up against the rail made the finally drilling and dogging run much quicker.

A well organised process these days, taking no time at all.

As we were running well ahead of schedule, we replaced 25 failed timber sleepers with concrete.

Some final tamping and removal of a dip just past the road crossing (unconnected with the job but nice to remove while on site) has left this length of track looking very nice.

Today saw us re-rail 241m of rail, almost all of which was on timber sleepers, 25 sleepers replaced and everything finished besides tidying up! A pretty amazing effort! Next week we’ll be tidying up and tackling the straight, which should happen very quickly as we’re back into 1 in 3 concrete sleeper territory.

We’ll have workdays on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday for anyone interested, meeting Maldon 8am on Monday or out at Muckleford from 8.30am.

Re-railing Preparations

The low leg of Curve 13 (just on the Castlemaine side of Muckleford) will be our next re-railing victim.

Today saw us drop out sleeper plates, dog spikes, fishplates and bolts ready for a big effort this Thursday.

Unfortunately this short curve is the only section between Muckleford and Castlemaine not to have received the 1 in 3 concrete sleeper treatment, so we’ll be re-railing this the old school way, just like we did Maldon to Muckleford.

We’re using 94lb, which we’ll eventually install on the high leg too. As we’re basically within Yard limits for most of the curve, we’re using a bit of a mix of the short lengths of 94lb remaining on hand, still longer than we’re used to at around 27.5m each.

The 27.5m lengths have been bolted up into 55m lengths to speed up Thursday and we’ve prepared the 60lb to 80lb to 94lb junctions to save time also, with temporary joints installed so it’s a case of unbolt and go on Thursday Morning.

As Friday is a public holiday, we’re aiming to knock all this over on Thursday. So any extra hands would be very welcome. Meeting at Maldon 7.45am or Muckleford from 8am

Castlemaine

Well today saw us finish the standing of rails in the workshops shed. This is now ready for the concrete pour, which will likely happen over the next week. Once all that’s done, we’ll get onto building the track from here back to the turntable approach road.

Next week will likely involve re-railing near Muckleford. We’ll confirm Monday what Tuesday’s plans are.

Muckleford

Well today’s exciting job involved sorting through a big pile of dirt. All by hand, to sort out any valued treasures that may have been hidden.

A good number of treasures were found, including pandrol clips, adaptors, dog spikes, lock spikes and of course hundreds of sleeper plates.

Everything has been placed into a dedicated drum ready to be redeployed to where it’s next required.

It’s slow going, but today’s gang have made excellent headway now, with around 1/3 of the pile dealt with, leaving only a small mountain to go! We’ll now try to use up the sorted stuff at the base to save double handling it, so it might be a while before we’re back.

Earlier in the week we ran a civil train for the purposes of filling ballast wagons and dropping out some more 94lb rail, ready for our next re-railing job, just around the corner from Muckleford Yard.

Tomorrow we’ll be in at Castlemaine (meeting there from 8.15am), completing the new workshop track in the shed, with the afternoon likely to see us head out to Muckleford to make a start on some re-railing preparations.